To Robert R. Livingston
The Hague September 12. 17821
Your Letters express a Desire that I Should endeavour to form an Acquaintance with the Representatives of Crowned Heads, and you Seem to be of opinion that much may be learned from their Conversation. It is very true that Hints may be dropped, Sometimes which deserve to be attended to, and I Shall not fail to avail myself of every oppertunity of learning any Thing from them, that may occur.
But one might recollect, upon this occasion with great Propriety, a Saying of the Chanceller D’oxensteirn.2 He told his Son, that he intended to Send him as Ambassador, to a Congress for a Pacification. Sir, Says his Son I have never made the Studies necessary to qualify me—never fear Says the Father I will give you all the Instructions which will be necessary.
LbC (Adams Papers).
1. The Letterbook copy is incomplete, and the letter was likely never sent. There is no copy in the PCC.
2. Count Axel Oxenstiern (1583–1654), Swedish diplomat and chancellor under Gustavus Adolphus (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale description begins Jean Chrétien Ferdinand Hoefer, ed., Nouvelle biographie générale depuis les temps les plus reculés jusqu’à nos jours, Paris, 1852–1866; 46 vols. description ends ).